The ramblings of an absent-minded doctoral student

The ramblings of an absent-minded doctoral student. Chronicling my life as I earn a PhD in history.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Life is a learning process

I'm feeling surprisingly calm about the rest of this quarter. I'm sure this feeling won't last long with finals looming, but getting the rough draft of my seminar paper complete has really made a difference. The paper is just over 30 pages and is undoubtedly going to go through a lot of editing, but I personally think editing is the easier part. I know a great number of people who would disagree with me, but it simply feels good to have the draft done. Luckily there is no final paper for my Atlantic class. Instead, we are doing something which I find to be unique at the grad level and also immensely helpful. We're creating a teaching module focusing on a specific subject within Atlantic history and also making a visual aid to present said teaching module. I was immediately requested to become the Atlantic pirate "expert" for the class, so I'll be examining how historiography on piracy has evolved and in what ways you can utilize piracy to discuss various aspects of the Atlantic world, like economics, military/policy making, imperial desires, etc. Although the military final is my most daunting (we're going to be writing a paper, in a a sense, as if we were taking generals), I actually feel like I might be able to pull it off. I may not have memorized the strategies of all these great thinkers to the degree that others have, but I at least know where to go to find the necessary information, which, I think, is half the battle. My professors this quarter have been exceptionally helpful in all aspects, helping me to feel more prepared for the end of the quarter and the coming year. I feel like my topic is really starting to take shape, and I'm wondering if my dissertation is going to end up being solely Dutch focused rather than a large examination of piracy in multiple nations. Perhaps such a project is too large at the dissertation level and might be a future project once I've settled into a career. Depression is so bizarre sometimes. On the one hand I feel content with my progress this quarter. On the other hand, I feel....for lack of words, just..."bleh" today. Not sad or angry or anxious. Just...bleh. But having really supportive people in my life (friends, family, Kyle, colleagues and my profs) makes dealing with the pressures of graduate school and the uncertainties of depression a bit more manageable. I also think moving out of my current apartment (which causes enough stress) will be beneficial as well. Well, here's to hoping.